Tuesday, November 17, 2009

© Eso Antons Benjamins

56 The Ides of Marx (IV)

(Continued from blog 55…)

No matter how one describes the events that led to Latvia’s founding on the 18th of November, 1918, it is clear it was done with a haste that is not as innocent as it is now said to be. The public at large received no period of grace for either approval or disapproval. Unfortunately, it was the “breadth” of the representative body of the Sovereign Council of the People, not the Latvian people themselves who spoke.

Does the behavior of the “liberal citizens” invalidate the Latvian Constitution? One hopes not. There were good geopolitical reasons for not wasting time in debates that would necessarily have taken some time. Moreover, though World War 1 was technically over, the aftermath was still one of violence, especially with a Revolution raging in Russia.

However, the haste of liberal circles to force themselves on Latvia as its sole founders, leads to the conjecture that these circles were motivated by a desire to establish a society and culture with a bias for the urban middle class and liberal economics. Today one would expect a referendum, a vote, a coming together of a majority of the people in order to establish their communal bonds beyond any doubt. Such a moment of coming together most likely occurred in “the days of the barricades” in early 1991, with the Peoples’ Front representing the populist front. Alas, the government that came to power on May 4th of that year, took the Constitution of 1922 for its own. If most Latvians today sing the Latvian national anthem giving their voices an inflection of pathos, the roots of this inflection must be sought in the circumstances that surround Latvia’s declaration of independence and the tilt of its Constitution.

Interestingly, the pathos of Latvia is expressed rather well by the former foreign minister of Latvia, Janis Jurkans, who (referring to the immediate post 1991 years in Latvia) says: “Political power in those days came into the hands of three, four people. I now live in a nation that has been stolen.” (My translation.) The former foreign minister ads that several retired politicians who are now returning to politics are doing so, because “They fear for their security before the law”. http://tiny.cc/mFz6b

If the haste on the 17th of November, 1918, was motivated by the concern that unless we establish the state of Latvia NOW, Latvians may not have the opportunity to do so on another day, it still leaves a question. What is the argument for denying populists expression when the consensus is that the people’s sovereign right to their nation has been stolen?

If we infer that the argument of the liberals in 1918 would have been that they founded Latvia with good will toward all and assumed the responsibility of bringing all together in the near future, then why the drumbeat denial of populism? Indeed, the president of Latvia should apologize for his careless remarks with regard to populism, because those remarks open the door to the criticism that he is acting as a lackey of the partidocracy in Saeima, a partidocracy that rules as a sovereign instead of the people. While a sense of togetherness brought together many Latvians in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Latvians have not yet had the opportunity to come together as a solidarity when a nation. This writer believes, this is not the time when coming together is beyond achieving. However, it will be so if the thieves remain in office. Is this why the President of Latvia is asking all Latvians to sing the Latvian national hymn at the same time, though clearly the mood among the people demands that the President overcome his personal psychological struggles and give signs that he is not the talking head for partidocracies?

The Latvian Constitution (Satversme) was written under the umbrage of the Allies and Latvia’s German occupants, still on Latvian soil at the time. Indeed, the defeat that the Germans had suffered by the Allies was not so bitter for the Germans in Latvia, because they were necessary and material to the exclusion of such interests as were in conflict with Latvia’s liberals at the founding of Latvia.

The exclusion of populist interests and negation of populism is still as effective and widely spread in 2009 as it was in 1918. It is tragic that the economic and cultural collapse of Latvia in 2009 under the umbrage of the liberal parties (labējie) has been allowed to take place. For ninety-one years nothin’ special has changed, not even with the huge gap (45-46 year) in Latvia’s independence no-thanks to the occupation of the Soviet Union. The Constitution, written after 1918, which created Latvia’s partidocracies (with all so many wanting to join in the feeding frenzy), indeed had to be checked by the liberals themselves, re, Ulmanis’ dictat.

Subsequent to the renewal of Latvia, the nation is now de facto bankrupt, with one of the parties that led the country to bankruptcy ironically named “Peoples Party”, i.e., Tautas partija. Of course, the Constitution of Latvia, written under the umbrage of Latvia’s liberals, has not been substantially revised. A rewriting of the Constitution, the calling for a long-term conference that will take the interests of all inhabitants of Latvia at heart, is not under consideration even today.

The writers of the Constitution of Latvia http://tiny.cc/uDKxr  read a number of constitutions to learn from their example, but they were primarily influenced by the Constitution of the German Weimar Republic. For their part, the Social Democrats (even if one of their own rank lead the Constitutional Committee) took a stand against the Constitution, especially with regard to the section that spoke of the rights of citizens. For their part, the Social Democrats argued that though the constitutions of many nations had declarative phrases with regard to citizens rights, the governments had found ways to ignore them “for hundreds of years”. For Latvia the argument is short nine years before it becomes prophetic.

The character and spirit of the citizens of Latvia has suffered great damage. A small nation of 2.5 million people cannot afford to be dumbed down when it comes to education, but this has been accomplished, both, with the help of the once Soviet Union and the present partidocracy. The teeth of the people in Latvia, especially those living in the countryside, rot. The elderly are neglected. With unemployment high, many working age people are turning to alcohol as they did under the Soviet system, and their children suffer from malnutrition. Many leave the country with a curse leveled at the government. The curses of the people against the ruling partidocracy flow in an unrelenting stream. So? So, nothin’. The President of Latvia goes to a closed Christian prayer breakfast and comes away from it with the message that “the people should not curse the state”. http://tiny.cc/ne0hK

Saulīt, svēti Latviju! Bring us a sunny day.

Asterisk & Notes of Interest:

On the theme of “more-equal-than-others” http://tiny.cc/RRviK  ; http://tiny.cc/1NFQJ

An eyeball view of Latvia (and its forests) http://tiny.cc/7mSpk  http://tiny.cc/TSghu  The two maps match, but you should look at both to get a realistic sense of the meaning of the “47%” forest cover. The Latvian news media provides little coverage of the rapid pace of deforestation. At this moment, only “lousy” weather and water filled swamps keep the chainsaws at bay. Anecdotal evidence of deforestation in progress from a neighbor: “This fall there were far less mushrooms than last year, because the forests we used to go to are gone.”

These blogs tend to be a continuum of an idea or thought, which is why—if you are interested in what you have read—you are encouraged to consider reading the previous blog and the blog hereafter.

If you copy this blog for your own files, or forward it, or otherwise mention its content, please credit the author and http://esoschronicles.blogspot.com/  

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